Cork residents threaten to block construction of social housing in estate
Residents have threatened to set up a blockade and stop construction in a row over plans to build 44 social housing units in their estate.
It is the second time in recent months that a residents’ group in Cork city has criticized the approach which sees the local authority working with private developers to deliver social or affordable homes on part-built private estates.
Just weeks after residents of Eagle Valley in Wilton criticized this approach, residents of the 94-unit Lios Cara estate in Killeens, near Blarney, say they have recently learned that the original plan for 44 additional private homes in the next phase of their estate’s development has now changed to a 100% social housing development.
Cork City Council is understood to have entered into an agreement with a developer following a competitive dialogue process to build seven two-bedroom townhouses, 32 three-bedroom townhouses and five four-bedroom semi-detached houses on the site.
The residents have now threatened to start a peaceful blockade of the estate from Wednesday – a move that would prevent construction on the site – until they hold meetings to discuss the situation.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the residents said they were “acutely aware” of the housing crisis and supported social housing, affordable housing and private housing within the community.
But they said: “This transaction was carried out without commitment by the developer and the existing residents, despite what was felt to be a good open honest relationship. The residents were left frustrated and anxious about the actions of the developer.
“The purpose of the protest is not to block any delivery of housing, but to encourage the developer to engage in meaningful dialogue.”
Local FG leader Damian Boylan said he understood the residents’ concerns but said a compromise could be found.
“People need to remember that we are in the midst of a housing crisis and this is a local authority effort to deliver much needed housing,” he said.
Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan said she supported the provision of social housing on the site, but said other long-standing issues relating to the non-delivery of various amenities also needed to be addressed.
“Some residents do not want any housing on the site, others understand the situation but want a say in the development and are asking for meetings with the developer or council,” she said.
Independent Cllr Ken O’Flynn said the residents had good points and that a mix of social and affordable homes on the site should be considered.
SF Cllr Mick Nugent said council officials had told them the social housing plan was “set in stone”, but he said residents’ concerns needed to be heard.
“We have a housing crisis and council officials are telling us this scheme is part of their social housing but we feel engagement needs to happen,” he said.
Oliver Moran, Mr. Green Party said that while residents have many legitimate concerns, the typical social housing locations are also changing, with addresses such as Shanakiel, Blackrock, Montenotte and Maryborough Ridge being advertised by Cork City Council for social housing tenants.
“The houses being built in Lios Cara must be seen in that changing context. Similar scale developments are taking place in Coolroe in Ballincollig, Ballinglanna in Glanmire, and Hawkes Road in Bishopstown,” he said.